The Environmental Protection Agency has registered Vitis Liquid Ant Bait from Bayer CropScience of Research Triangle Park, N.C., to control sugar-feeding ants in orchards, vineyards and fields.

Growers also can help break the mutually beneficial arrangements the ants have with other pests, such as mealybugs and scale, that they protect from natural predators.

The product must be applied through in-field bait stations approved by the EPA’s Chemistry Science Advisory Committee. Stations are available commercially, or you can build them yourself following free instructions available at University of California Cooperative Extension offices, through the local Bayer representative, in each case of the ant bait and from Bayer's Web site

A single 96-ounce jug of the premixed product provides season-long control, according to Bayer officials. Vitis contains the active ingredient imidacloprid and targets Argentine, pavement and big-headed ants, among others.

Worker ants pick up the product in the bait stations and take it back to the nest to feed to other ants and the queen. The entire colony will die within six to eight weeks of continuous exposure to the product.

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